|A stack of sticks?|
Recently I received a few deliveries (those of you who visit my Facebook pages know that I receive so many deliveries that I am on first name terms with my postman!!) and I always show them to "her" hoping for a positive response. Most times I get the "that's nice" response without her even looking up at them. To get her proper attention I would need to announce that I had received a pair of shoes or a handbag! But my last delivery got a new response:
"They all look the same! It's just a stack of sticks"Aaaaargh!!!!! How can she say such a thing??? Can she not see the beauty, the workmanship and the soon to happen fun? Obviously not! Sob!!!
My last 2 deliveries have been some absolutely stunning sets of puzzles from 2 brilliant craftsmen. The first has had a bit of a revival recently - The New Pelikan workshop (originally run by the late Joseph Pelikan who sadly died in 2005 and now taken over by former workers Jakub Dvorak and his partner Jaroslav Svejkovsky) has been producing a lot of new puzzles recently and selling either direct to the public as well as through the a number of puzzle outlets. Their own website is not great so in Europe I would suggest using Bernhard Schweitzer's marvellous Puzzlewood, in the Americas go to Puzzle Master for a fantastic selection and in Australia, MrPuzzle has a nice collection for sale too.
Jakub emailed me a while ago about a few new ones coming up for sale and asked whether I would be interested. Of course he knows me quite well now - he included some photos and I started to salivate immediately and of course, as he knew I would, said yes straight away - I've never let him down before and don't intend to now!
|Front of HALT||Back of HALT|
HALT for obvious reasons. Designed by the incredibly prolific Stéphane Chomine, it is an interlocking shape inside of a cage forming a word! During my discussions with a very good friend who makes his own puzzles for himself and for me, he said that this was one of the very best framed puzzles that he had seen recently and the only reason he had not made it himself was that the accuracy required was beyond his skills! Now I have to say that this is a tremendous endorsement - my friend has a knowledge of puzzles that is simply staggering and if he says something is good then I believe it without question! With his praise ringing in my ears (or is it eyes if it's via email?) this was the first of the delivery I picked up and he was absolutely correct - it requires a lovely sequence of moves to solve. The only other puzzle like this with a word built in was the HELP cube designed by Trevor Wood and made by the original Pelikan workshop.
|Just beautifully made - letters outside the cage|
|Many similar pieces|
|Every piece is an identical shape|
I have suggested a few puzzles that Jakub may want to attempt to make for us and have also put him in touch with another great designer so he can get permission to reproduce their designs so over the next few months you can expect a whole lot more marvelous goodies from this brilliant pair of craftsmen.
So I did say that I was going to mention 2 brilliant craftsmen and so far all these gorgeous goodies have been made by just Jakub. Why haven't I put the other puzzles into the stack? Well the second craftsman that I received puzzles from is a relative newcomer to this - Stephan Baumegger from Austria has crashed onto the puzzle world via Facebook and seems to have only been displaying his work this year. He designs his own puzzles (many of which he has not posted on Puzzlewillbeplayed). He seems to specialise in burrs that tend to have very simple stick designs and as a consequence of this an enormous amount of possible movement of the pieces.
"Not another burr" you say! and "what's so special about these?"
The special thing about these is the very high difficulty - they can have a high level but the difficulty comes from the huge degree of freedom of the moves and also he has made some very interesting shapes. Stephan also makes them himself in very small numbers and to order. His workmanship is also superb!
These puzzles have not joined my stack of sticks picture because - I have yet to manage to disassemble even 1 of the 4 that I have made! Yes they are THAT difficult. My latest acquisitions have been these:
|Excalibur - I wonder why?|
|Thor's Hammer - he even plaited the thong|
I don't have much time off during the upcoming holidays but I hope that I might manage to solve at least one! Wish me luck!